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Forum topic by badger posted 12-15-2009 12:38 AM 4215 views 2 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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badger

62 posts in 2035 days


12-15-2009 12:38 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

So, I’ve been trying to move in a “hand tool” direction, and am planning out a dovetail box build.

I’ve seen countless things on cutting dovetails, and I feel confident that I have enough to start on that (I learn by doing, so I know I’ll learn a lot.)

However, I can’t for life of me figure out how to do the bottom of the box.

I was thinking of cutting a grove along the bottom of each, which has it’s own challenges to not have the cut showing at the edge. And then rabbeting the bottom to fit in the slot… But that sounds complicated.

I find that whenever I am looping on how to solve a problem, I am over thinking it.

Questions:

What is a good beginner friendly way to put a bottom in a simple dovetailed box?

How do you figure out which side of the box gets the pins/tails etc?

Is it encouraged or discouraged to use glue? I was kind of thinking of trying to go non-glue, but that might be crazy talk…

any other tips/tricks for getting started?

badger

-- "I'm just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe." -- Jango Fett


14 replies so far

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badger

62 posts in 2035 days


#1 posted 12-15-2009 12:45 AM

Oh yeah, I should probably state my “skill” level…

I’m self taught, and have some minor experience using my hands to make stuff. I’ve done a little woodworking, nothing fine quality except turning.

I’ve been turning for a few years, some small bowls but mostly spindle work and pens.

I have some planes, a couple chisels, and a variety of power tools.

-- "I'm just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe." -- Jango Fett

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NoSlivers

210 posts in 1779 days


#2 posted 12-15-2009 03:41 AM

Badger, the tails are cut into the sides and pins cut into the front and back pieces (in the case of a drawer) that way the forces of pulling the drawer open and/or the items in the drawer sliding and hitting the back when the drawer is pulled open cause the tails to work into the pins. That’s the direction that the joint is strongest. There are different schools of thought as to whether tails or pins should be cut first. An entire thread could probably be started on just that (maybe already has). Personally, I cut the tails first and then make my pins to fit the tails. And I always use glue, but it doesn’t take much. As far as a “beginner friendly way” to put in a drawer bottom, you could use 1/4” stock and just chisel in stopped dadoes along the bottom of the sides, front and back. If you need to use thicker stock I’d do the same but cut a rabbet along the drawer bottom. Depending on the planes you have, a plane could make that rabbet…. Hope this helps

-- If you don't have time to do it right, do you have time to do it twice?

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badger

62 posts in 2035 days


#3 posted 12-15-2009 05:16 AM

I do have a Stanley #45 in good condition I just bought on ebay… (early xmas present)

Still trying to make sense of it.

but I think I can make sense of the Dado idea. I was thinking something similar… But that is a little daunting. I should just get some scrap and go for it probably. :)

badger

-- "I'm just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe." -- Jango Fett

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NoSlivers

210 posts in 1779 days


#4 posted 12-15-2009 07:50 AM

A Stanley 45? Then this may help…

-- If you don't have time to do it right, do you have time to do it twice?

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badger

62 posts in 2035 days


#5 posted 12-15-2009 08:40 AM

That is a pretty useful link.

I need to figure out some method of holding down the work like that I think.

I made a “bench vise” and I use the term loosely, for holding the board for cutting the dovetails.

Bench Vise

It seems to work pretty well for that although I haven’t tried cutting yet. At worst I can clamp the board to the bench, or maybe my table saw or something.

badger

-- "I'm just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe." -- Jango Fett

View interpim's profile

interpim

1133 posts in 2148 days


#6 posted 12-15-2009 08:52 AM

Roy Underhill talks about this and how to do it without showing the groove in the dovetail in one of his videos.

It’s 2706 French Work Bench, Part 2
which can be found at http://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/schedule/27season_video.html

-- San Diego, CA

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marcb

762 posts in 2363 days


#7 posted 12-15-2009 06:18 PM

Mark out the groove area and make a chisel fence by paring away a small amount from the waste side to the line.

Then use a router plane to take out the rest of the waste. Then you rabbet the bottom and slip it into place.

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badger

62 posts in 2035 days


#8 posted 12-16-2009 02:09 AM

Thanks for the suggestions, and the link to the Roy Underhill videos… (that guy is my hero, seriously).

I had seen that one a long time, but it didn’t sink in then because i wasn’t doing anything with dovetails then.

The nice thing about that way is that I could potentially cut the groove in the long board, and then cut the sides later.

Lots to think about…

-- "I'm just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe." -- Jango Fett

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interpim

1133 posts in 2148 days


#9 posted 12-16-2009 05:18 AM

I happened to watch that one a couple days ago which made it fresh in my mind… I guess your lucky i saw it LOL

-- San Diego, CA

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Tim Dahn

1473 posts in 2254 days


#10 posted 02-02-2010 01:31 AM

Missed this topic, How are you coming on the dovetails?

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

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badger

62 posts in 2035 days


#11 posted 02-02-2010 02:44 AM

You can see my first two sets of dovetails in my blog post here:
http://www.badgerwoodworks.com/2010/01/my-first-dovetails/

I haven’t figured out the slot in the bottom question yet, due to lack of time, but I am planning on trying stopped slots on the two sides, and through on the sides that don’t show.

I just bought a new dovetail saw (gent’s style) and hope to get down there this week to do the other two corners of this box. I’m going to leave the first side as a reminder to myself, as ugly as it is. I’ll probably just pin it to make it actually stay together. :)

badger

-- "I'm just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe." -- Jango Fett

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Tim Dahn

1473 posts in 2254 days


#12 posted 02-02-2010 03:31 AM

I checked out your blog, as with my first attempts at dovetails, plenty of room there :). The second attempt is much improved.

These videos helped me:
http://woodtreks.com/how-to-hand-cut-precision-dovetails-%E2%80%94-part-one-the-pins/75/
http://woodtreks.com/how-to-hand-cut-precision-dovetails-the-tails-part-2-of-2/77/
http://woodtreks.com/important-hand-cut-dovetail-cutting-techniques-you-should-learn/788/

Making the dado by hand, you would use a dado plane or Stanley combination plane

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

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Rabbet

35 posts in 1830 days


#13 posted 02-02-2010 05:27 AM

You may want to try using a hardwood like maple or birch for your practice pieces. Something with a straight grain works best. I found soft pine tends to crush when chopping and paring. You will also get better results marking and sawing too.
-Rabbet

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a1Jim

112325 posts in 2267 days


#14 posted 02-08-2010 01:55 AM

good links tim

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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